Thursday, October 31, 2013

Calipari pre -Transy press conference transcript


On the players being anxious to play …

“We’ve been playing each other now, 22 practices so I think they’re just about, you know, ready to put it out there against somebody else. We’ll see. We’re still trying to evaluate who’s in that top six, seven, eight. We get another look. The scrimmage kind of put out one thing, but let’s see it against somebody else, see how guys do.”

 

On not knowing how good Derek Willis is …

“He didn’t know how good he was. He’s playing in the best shape he’s ever been in, he’s more physical than he’s ever been, he’s driving the ball through bumps, which I’ve never seen him do and he’s not shooting bail-out 3s like, ‘I’m just going to come down and jack this one.’ He’s playing within how we’re playing, he stills scores, he’s rebounding the ball. You would think he’d be physically challenged in some of these practices, he figures out ways. I think he’s better than he thought, I see him better than I thought and it’s good for him.”

 

On what you do with Derek Willis …

“We’ll have to figure it out as we go. He’s deserving of playing time but there are a lot of guys deserving of playing time and now we just have to figure out how it all lays out. The great news is everybody is challenged. You have guys playing really well, where now all of a sudden I’m in my office at 10:30 and I hear thump, thump, thump. The guy playing against that guy, now he’s in the gym, ‘I got to get some extra work in, this guy is really playing well.’ That’s pretty good for us.”

 

On practicing more defense in practice …

“The one thing that we do when you’re talking dribble drive and you’re talking getting to the basket, you’re always working on defense in that you have to guard a guy driving by yourself, it’sthe hardest thing in basketball to teach. Teaching them how to play, screens, pick-and-rolls, post-ups, cross screens, that means a couple of guys together guard you. But when you’re having to guard like we do off the dribble as much as we play that way, they’re getting better now. We’ve started covering the other things and I’ll be honest with you, what I saw in the scrimmage, we defended pretty well, the only thing we didn’t guard is the 3 and what’s damaging for us is most teams are going to try to beat us by sagging, playing zone, using clock and shooting 3s, that’s how they’ll play us. I don’t think theyre going to go in a wide open game against us, I don’t think they’re going to stretch out the man-to-man defense, you can’t. So we’ve got to make sure we’re guarding that 3 better.

 

On if he has any idea on how playing time will go 

It’s not a blank slate. You saw the scrimmage and I threw a group out there that I thought should be playing together. Then all of a sudden Dominique (Hawkins) and Derek (Willis) play out of their minds. Now what happens is, it is all good at practice and drills and all that. But when you put people in the seats and it’s on television to 10 states and there’s 15,000 fans, and it sets the Guinness Book of World Records. And now you see who performs when the numbers are on the back and the lights are on. Those two stepped up. I thought Marcus Lee did fine. Marcus got confused. He was on the white team, I put him on the blue team, and he’s on the blue team throwing to the white team. I didn’t even get mad about it because I knew whathe was doing. As soon as he threw it he went, “Ah.” And he looked at his jersey, “I’m blue.” When we were switching guys in and out it was amazing that they could remember what team they were on.”

 

On Andrew Harrison’s knee 

“It’s a bone bruise, and he’s just got to take time. Right now it’s good because Aaron (Harrison) is playing point (guard). It is giving us a chance to look at James Young playing both the two and the three. It gives us a chance to put other guys at the three, try Julius (Randle) at the three. Dakari (Johnson) gives us a look at a bigger player, more of a scorer than Willie (Cauley-Stein) is;Willie is more of an athlete. We have a good kind of mix, but right now with him being out, one guy’s misery is another guys blessing. It opens opportunity and that is what has happened for us.

 

On mentioning not wanting to play 11 guys 

“Well, you’d like to play your whole roster because you’re up 35, then you put all those guys in. But the reality of it is you stretch it unless you figure out a way of playing more than seven of eight. Then you have to figure out, if I had a veteran team it wouldn’t really matter, but when you have young guys trying to figure it out you can’t keep throwing more into the mix. We have to figure out these six or seven, that group has to get good. It’s not just throwing … you can’t do it that way. How I figure that out, part of it is in practice, part of it is going to be in these games.”

On the team communication 

“Way better, they are into each other pretty good. They do some of it naturally, and James needs to talk more. He’s a little uncomfortable with it but he’s doing fine. I told James yesterday ‘from what I see, he’s got to be DeAndre Liggins and Michael Kidd- (Gilchrist).’ What did those two do for us? They defend. Who do they defend? The best player. If I make him guard their best player, it may be a point guard or it may be a guy running off 50 screens, what is that going to do to his offense? It’s going to take that back a little bit. What’s that going to do to his minutes? Now, are you willing to sacrifice or are you going to get in the best shape of your life to play this way. Are you okay doing it? Then I told the twins, if he is out there going nuts and you think you are taking time off, then you are out. I’ll play somebody else. Now you can become great interceptors. Guys that can really take some chances. We got a lot of things we still have got to figure out.

 

On if he enjoys threatening playing time 

“I don’t enjoy it. I don’t play mind games. I don’t try to trick the other coach, I don’t try to trick my players. We practiced yesterday. I put one team down 12 against the other team. Fight. That’s a bad shot. You can’t afford to take a bad shot. You have to come down and stop. You gave them another basket, now you can’t win. Then as it went on, a couple guys got tired and couldn’t do it. They caved in. A couple other guys stepped up. I only need five or six to be able to step up in those environments and we’ll be fine. You other guys won’t play, but that’s okay. You make that choice. So you have to do it in here. You are making choices. Do you battle? Do you fight? Or do you kind of cave in. And the great news is that they all see it. I don’t pick who plays and who doesn’t play. If I asked you right now who should start on my team you all are going to say the same guys. And if I said who is the sixth man or seventh man, probably the same. If I say eighth or ninth man, you may switch it. But those six, you guys have an idea who they are. You watched. Did you not watch the game? Some of you don’t watch the game. You act like you watch, but you don’t even watch. You are writing your story and this happened because I just wrote this this way. If you watched the game you would be able to figure it out, like wait a minute, this is who I like.”

 

 

 

On if it’s a coin flip between Willie Cauley-Stein and DakariJohnson 

“They are both going to play. They don’t have to worry about it. They are both going to be playing. We’ll play different when Willie’s (Cauley-Stein) in the game compared to when Dakari’s(Johnson) in the game, but they are both playing. And they can play together because Willie can play the four.”

 

On if a team tries to slug you 

“Let’s talk about slugging. One, if you slug this year  last year you could slug and play and win and do all that, but you can’t slug this year. So now slugging means you foul. Second thing, who are you slugging? Julius? Are you going to slug one of those twins? The problem is if you slug one, two come back at you. So I don’t know who you are slugging. So now all of a sudden are you slugging Alex? I mean we are a different team. In the warm up line when we went to Robert Morris, I looked at their line and said, ‘We can’t win this game, look at those guys.’So I am hoping there are a few coaches that look at this warm up line and say, ‘Oh my gosh.’ You can’t play the way you used to play, which was beat the other team up. We are going to grab and hold and ride and put our arms up and hit the guy out of bounds. You can’t do any of that anymore. It is all fouls.”

 

On if Aaron Harrison can play the lead guard for the squad 

“He’s playing great. The only thing that is hard is you have to attack and keep your teammates involved. What do you mean?Attack. Come on, why didn’t you pass that ball over there?’You’re telling me to attack. I need you to attack and I need you to find him. You know he didn’t touch the ball the last few times down? No. Well you got to know that. You’re playing this position. Then he’s leaving the gym saying, ‘My brother’s position is harder than I thought.’ It’s a tough position, especially playing for me and the way we play. I put a lot on theguy’s shoulders. He’s making his own calls. This is like a quarterback going out there, we talk about the game plan, then he makes the calls. It’s a hard deal.”

 

On using certain players together 

“They can all play together. I thought they all played off of one another pretty good. We are going to try different lineups. I am going to try a different lineup today. At one point we were like 6-10, 7-0, 6-9, 6-7, 6-6. What? I want to have a pressing lineup I want to try a couple kids in today where we can pick up and press without fouling. We don’t need to grab you and hip check you and forearm you. We can press you because of our length, which is what they are telling us to do. We can do all of that stuff so we can see. I was proud at the the fact that we ended the game with 10 fouls on each side for a game in where everyone else is scrimmaging and writing about 80 fouls called, 90 fouls called, 60 fouls called. What they told us to do, don’t foul. There is body-to-body contact unless he runs at you and you have your hands up. We don’t want to foul. It is not football. We don’t have to march 100 yards to score. They score one, okay. Now score in five seconds. Did that really hurt? It’s not football. And I’m glad it’s not football with us having to be in the SEC playing football.”

 

On if it will be difficult to adjust to the new officiating 

“The officials are going to call the things. The good new is, all of the propaganda and other stuff, they are calling them. You can say you hate it, you like it, you don’t. It doesn’t matter. The team has got to play. We will see. I believe that everybody will adjust. I believe the coaches will. I think the players will. I think scoring will go up. I think early there will be a lot of fouls by coaches that weren’t adjusting. Compared to coaches that have adjusted, maybe there will be 50 fouls on one team and 12 on another. One coach did what he was supposed to, one didn’t. Should be fun though.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Day in Recruiting Tomorrow for Kentucky


Tomorrow night could potentially be a very big day in recruiting for Kentucky Basketball. Devin Booker (#30 ranked player in 2014) and James Blackmon Jr (#28 ranked player in 2014) will both make their college decisions known. Kentucky is thought to lead for both players, but there is a little doubt going around about Booker after his recent visit to Missouri. However, most recruiting gurus think the Cats will land both when all is said and done.

Evan Daniels had this to say concerning both recruitments on Twitter...

@EvanDaniels: Few weeks ago I was skeptical of Kentucky getting Devin Booker & James Blackmon. Not anymore.

The reason some people thought the likelihood of both kids going to Kentucky was slim is due to the fact they both play the same position, shooting guard. We will find out tomorrow night if the Cats and John Calipari can land two of the best shooters in the class of 2014...


Player Blue/White Post Game Transcript



#1, James Young, G/F

On favorite part of tonight… 
“I just had fun running up and down the court. It was fun to play a full game with everyone.”

On what he learned about himself… 
“That 40 minutes is really long. I did not think it was that long. In the second half I got winded a little bit. They told me to pick it up, so I did.”

On the crowd… 
“There weren’t as many as there were at madness, but I really did not pay too much attention to the crowd. I just focused on the practice, and tried to go hard.”

#2, Aaron Harrison, G 

On playing in Rupp Arena…
“It’s pretty fun to play in front of a big crowd like that. We all went out there and played hard. We enjoyed it.”

On the team’s chemistry… 
“It’s just saying that we’re coming together as a family. When you are around guys so much, you get to know how they play. We just want to win so we feed each other on our strong suits and we’re starting to mesh.”

On his teammates… 
“It’s amazing to be a part of so much talent and such a great group of guys. It is amazing. No one really understands how competitive practices are and how good everyone is. I’m really blessed to be apart of a great group like this.”

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F 

On the new foul and hand check regulations implemented by the NCAA this year … 
“It’s a big part in the game because growing up, you are used to being fouled all of the time. You are used to someone having a hand on you all of the time. Now, in practice, this is too easy. We are trying to work on not fouling and putting your hands up. With the people we have, it’s just bucket after bucket after bucket. But, to see it in a live setting, I get it now. It makes more sense”

On how much Coach Calipari has been stressing the new rules in practice … 
“A lot. If we don’t have our hands up, we run for it. It’s a pretty big statement he is trying to make.”

On the first dunk he had … 
“That’s just part of my game. It felt normal.”

On the starting Blue team lineup … 
“It doesn’t matter what group you put out there, as long as you are playing with a lot of energy and you are giving everything you’ve got. It doesn’t matter who we put out there. Everybody can play. The same thing would happen if we changed lineups in the first half. Everybody is jacked and juiced and ready to play.”

#30, Julius Randle, F

On the evolution of his game and the work he put in this summer… 
“Our coaches do a great job of developing our skills, making sure that we do not have any weaknesses. Biggest thing is we are playing fast and up-tempo but coaches are not letting us make any mistakes and we are learning from it.”

On the length of this team and finishing around the rim…
“We can do it versus anybody in the country. We have seven-footers, athletic guys; our guards are 6’5” and 6’7”. If we can do it versus them, then we can do it against anybody.”

On being dunked on by EJ Floreal…
“I don’t really know. I was on the weak side. At first I wasn’t about to jump, I was just going to let him go.  Then I thought what the heck, I’m just going to jump. He got me. I will admit that he got me.”


Coach Cal; Blue/White Post Game Transcript



COACH JOHN CALIPARI


Q.  On providing spring tuition for two students.
COACH CALIPARI:  I did something like this when I was at UMass and a guy reminded me of it when I was in town, and I thought, yeah, we ought to do something like that here.  So I had done that in 1994‑'95, and just popped in my head, and I told DeWayne (Peevy), like typical thing, let's do it tomorrow.  He said, what?  I said, figure it out; let's go.  But it was fun.  This is great.  I mean, it's a good thing, and I'm happy for them.  I'm hearing Josh (Lawson) is all over the place, traveled, did his thing.  Amanda (Dowell), now she'll come to every game, and it's good.  We've got a good student body.  They're into this, and so I'm glad we could do it. 

Q.  Who was the guy?
COACH CALIPARI:  A friend of mine who came to town that was in town for two days that was from my UMass days.  Marty Jacobson was the guy that said, do you remember doing that?  And I asked my wife, do you remember us doing that?  She said, now that you reminded me, I do.  But no, it was a long time ago. 
This was fun.  Like I said, it's something we can do, and it's something we can do at some games, so it'll be fun. 

Q.  Once a year?
COACH CALIPARI:  If you help me we can do it more than that if you want.  (Laughter). 

Q.  Did you like how they ran and just your overall first thoughts?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, it's a scrimmage.  We haven't done pick‑and‑roll defense you could tell.  We're still figuring out transition defense.  But what you found out is you saw Dominique (Hawkins) ‑‑ now you understood I had to trap him so he wouldn't go for 50 today, so I had the one team trap Dakari (Johnson) because he was going to kill them.  He had 10 and 8 I think at half. 
You had Dominique.  How did Dominique play?  He belongs. 
There's that other kid, that big long kid, Derek Willis, who has no conscience whatsoever, just lets you go.  Played well.
I thought our big guys did well, our guards did well.  Andrew (Harrison), whose knee has been bothered him, probably shouldn't have played today, but I told him that and he wanted to play.  Hopefully he'll be okay for tomorrow. 
James Young is what he is.  That's what you saw today.  What James Young could be is ‑‑ forget about just scoring the ball and getting to the rim.  He can really defend.  He comes up with balls and steals. 
I like the fact that we defended without fouling.  The officials came up, and especially the SEC official, and told me that this is the best I've seen.  You've got your hands up, your body in.  We don't try to foul anyway.  That's not how we play.  I thought it was good.  And we're a shot‑blocking team, so these rules kind of play to what we do.

Q.  You talked on media day about Julius Randle and adjusting to that role on the perimeter.  Is tonight indicative of the progress he's made? 
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, and what was really good is he wasn't getting the ball early, and he didn't ‑‑ he just played, and eventually he started getting it, and he walks the guy down, makes the foul‑line jumper, makes his free throws, gets to the basket, and he even missed about three lay‑ups or he'd have had six, eight more points.  No, he's really good.  He can really pass.  That's the biggest thing.  I look at him and say, man, he can pass. 
Again, they want to talk about Aaron (Harrison); you can see Aaron is really good.  Whoever has made this thing that one of them is way better than the other is crazy.  I'm coaching them now.  You know, Alex (Poythress) is better, Willie (Cauley-Stein) is better. 
Jarrod did not play as well as he's been playing, but he played well, and he made shots down the stretch, and Jonny Hood had played better.  The intensity seemed to be kind of high in there, and again, it might be because there were that many people for this kind of game.

Q.  That starting blue lineup tonight, is that the lineup we might see game 1?
COACH CALIPARI:  Here's what I would say to you:  When you looked at what we did, you kind of got a picture of while you've got this guy, this guy, that guy, but what about Derek Willis?  Where does he fit in here?  I mean, and then you look at, well, what about Marcus Lee; he's pretty good too, now.  And then you look at Dominique and say, wow, I'm not going to play 11 guys.  So there's a little bit of a dogfight.  We've got to figure out how we're going to do this.  We've got to have a little plan about it, and then everybody has got to buy into what we're doing and their roles on the team. 
I'm trying to get Alex, and I think Alex is playing better.  Be a finisher; you're not a play starter.  That's not what you are.  Don't put him in a position to start plays; put him in a position where he can finish and get to the basket or he can make a jump shot.  Let him be a play finisher.  And he's buying into that, and I think he played more comfortable today than he has in a while. 

Q.  So are a lot of those blue starters college starters? 
COACH CALIPARI:  Don't know yet.  They were pretty good today, though.  But Andrew has to ‑‑ he's going to have to be able to practice and stuff.  He's been hurt. 

Q.  When you're marking it up, which was more impressive, Julius's dunks in the first half or EJ Floreal's dunk on him in the second half?
COACH CALIPARI:  EJ put a helmet on him, so that will be a picture in the hallway.  I was happy for EJ.  EJ has done well in practice and he's not getting a whole lot of time on the floor.  But the time he was out there, you watch and say, you know what, he can do this.  So I was happy for him even though he didn't let Tod (Lanter) get a basket.  Shut him out there at the end. 

Q.  Along those lines, after he got dunked on, it seemed like the teammates were having a lot of fun with Julius, sort of ribbing him, giving him a hard time. 
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, they did after, too.  They were laughing. 

Q.  How has the chemistry evolved?  You talked about last year's team didn't know each other. 
COACH CALIPARI:  They really like each other, but we've got a whole season.  We've got to get dinged up a little bit.  Like I said, you can't compare how you're playing to somebody else.  Just be the best version of yourself.  If somebody goes for 30, don't have that affect how you think or play or ‑‑ you just can't on this team because you're going to drive yourself crazy because there could be ‑‑ now that you saw, was my statement an exaggeration?  We could have as many as seven, eight guys do that.  And so if someone is doing it you can't let it affect you.  Just play basketball, defend, rebound.  If we're going to be what we want to be, we've got to be a better defensive team, and I'm starting to zero in on defense.  I'm telling you, from the 18th until this date, we've just started defense.  I did no defense prior to. 

Q.  There was a play in the second half where Marcus Lee blocks a shot, then he throws the outlet away, and Aaron and Julius went right to him and really gave him an earful about it. 
COACH CALIPARI:  No, it wasn't an earful.  What happened was he thought he was still in the white.  He thought he was on the white team so he outlet it to the white team.  He did it twice.  That's why I said, don't worry about it, just play.  But he's fine.  He did some good things.  I mean, we're not helping helpers right now, so when we leave to block we're not pinning down enough.  We're not ‑‑ obviously pick‑and‑roll defense, even our post defense until we trapped.  I like picking up the ball, Dominique picking up the ball, Aaron and Andrew picking up the ball and then playing off that.  I like the fact that we did not foul, and we're driving on every possession, folks.  It's not like we're running patterns.  We're driving.  So in that game, if that was a 40‑minute game there were about 60, 80 drive attempts, and to have 20 fouls between your teams is pretty incredible. 

Q.  What kind of things are you working on with Dakari's game, any specific areas?
COACH CALIPARI:  Running, getting to the weak side, rebounds, pick‑and‑rolls where we're looking lobs, post‑ups from there, flying down the floor, beat everybody down the floor, and he does it.  He has improved probably as much as anybody on our team if not more.  But Dominique has done that, Derek has done that.  They're playing with confidence.  That's what I want.  You know, they're all playing with confidence.  Now we've got to lock down defensively, make it a little bit harder.

Q.  With regard to the officiating and what you've been saying, you had officials in practice, as well.  How much did that help you tonight, and is that something you can do periodically throughout the year?
COACH CALIPARI:  We do that when we scrimmage.  We'll come in and we'll bring officials.  We try to get college officials to do our scrimmages, and then the whole time they're calling ‑‑ every time a hand goes down they call it.  They call a foul.  If you stop a guy from cutting where he wants to go, they call a foul. 
Again, what I'm hoping is the entire season this is how the game is called.  You see a little more free‑flowing instead of checking a guy or hip‑checking a guy or grabbing a guy, hands up in the air and I ride you out of bounds, you're done now.  You can't play that way.  And we all get ‑‑ it's what the rules are.  I hate to tell you, that's what the rules have been.  They just haven't enforced them.  Now they're saying they are, and it's good to see.

Q.  Do you like this team more than say at this point last season or two years ago? 
COACH CALIPARI:  This is so early, and yeah, these are a great bunch of kids.  They're all doing what we're asking them to do.  Got to be more focused, a little more concentration.  I'm going to do some things the next two weeks that every time we scrimmage, and we've done more scrimmaging than I've ever done in my life as a coach, in any time in my career.  We're scrimmaging probably half the practice if not more, three quarters of the practice they're scrimmaging. 
We're going to now have winners and losers so someone runs.  We're keeping score but we're not doing things.  So I may give one unit a 12‑point lead, and we're playing for real.  Now, you're down 12, do you want to win or lose.  You're up 12, do you want to win or lose.  What are you doing?  Whoever loses runs.  We're going to do ihat from here on in.  I need that competitive spirit.  They showed it today.  I saw the competitive spirit.  It's in there.  Now they've got to play that way every moment or someone else is going to be on the court. 

Q.  Obviously you guys like to get out and run and those things, but what dimension does it add to you when you can do what you did at the end of that first half and go four straight possessions, dump it to Dakari down low and just have him sort of bulldoze people?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, that's when we got up 20.  The reason I said we trapped him, I said, Dakari, you've got to understand if you're playing like this they're trapping you.  You've got to learn to play through traps, which we have not taught him yet.  We haven't done anything with it because we haven't played that kind of defense.  I think he was terrific today.  But he's been like this ‑‑ you've got people walking in our gym bragging about him, like holy cow, so I'm proud of him, too. 

Q.  The guys that played the most minutes seem to be giving up an equal number of shots.  How impressed are you with how unselfish these young guys have been so far?
COACH CALIPARI:  For this time of the year it's been good.  The guy ‑‑ who would you think in our scrimmages has been shooting the most balls?  Dakari Johnson.  And he says they never throw it to me.  You're getting the most shots.  And so every scrimmage that we've had since ‑‑ and what we do is we take the stats of the scrimmage every day, and it goes to their iPads so they can see the stats.  They see theirs and they see their teammates' stats.  The reason is you've got to be held accountable.  The stats indict you.  Now, the film convicts you but the stats indict you.  Now you're looking and all of a sudden Dakari gets 26 and 18 and you're playing the same position as him.  You start thinking, I've got a little problem here.  Yeah, you do. 
So we're trying to chart and make sure we keep these guys hungry and competitive.  But like I said, I'm really pleased with this part.  This is a scrimmage against ourselves.  We didn't even play anybody. 
But you're right, we share the ball, we appeared to defend half decent without fouling.  The one thing you may not have noticed, you'd have to have a really good eye to notice this, we're really big.  Like really big.  Like 7'0", 7'0", 6'10", 6'9", 6'9", 6'8", 6'7", and then your guards are 6'6".  What?  I mean, we're really long and big. 
Anything else?  Thank you. 



Better Late Than Never Blue/White Box Score


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kentucky vs. Transylvania Preview



Finally, after what seems like an eternity, it's time once again to preview Kentucky's next opponent on the basketball court. So let's not waste any time and get right to it. The first game, although it's an exhibition is Transylvania University...

Location: Lexington, Kentucky (the two teams are so close that Transy actually WALKS to Rupp Arena the day of the game)

Est: 1780

Type: Private

Students: 1,110

Athletics: NCAA Divison III, HCAC

Colors: Crimson/White

Mascot: Pioneers

School Motto: In That Light, We Pass On The Light

An interesting side note... Thomas Jefferson, yes that Thomas Jefferson once made this statement to a friend in a letter when he was governor of Virginia.... "If we are to go a begging anywhere for education, I would rather it should be to Kentucky than any other state." Sure he made that statement in reference to Transylvania, but I'd like to think he was talking about Kentucky as whole.

NOTABLE ALUMNI:

Stephen F. Austin: Founder of the state of Texas.

Cy Barger: Major League Baseball Player
Ned Beatty: Actor

John C. Breckinridge: Vice President of the United States, Secretary of War; Confederate States of America.

Jefferson Davis: President of the Confederate States of America; Transferred to West Point.

John Calvin McCoy: Founder of Kansas City, Missouri

James S. Rollins: Missouri politician, "Father of the University of Missouri".

George Shannon: Member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition

Throughout the history of this series the Cats and the Pioneers have faced off a total of 5 times with the Cats winning 4 out of 5. The last loss came in the very first match-up on 1-20-1911 by a score of 18-23 The most recent clash saw Kentucky win going away 74-28 on 11-5-2012.

While this season looks like it will be a route, probably one of the biggest in the history of the series, you still can't help but feel a little nervous before a game like this one. I mean, how hard would it be to deal with a loss to Transy with a loaded roster such as the one Kentucky has put together this season.

Besides the nerves that I am probably alone in having, it's good to see these two teams face each other. It brings a lot of attention to the community and state and gives the guys that play for Transy a chance to play against a National power house, something that they will remember for the rest of their lives, in Rupp Arena no less. So let's get ready to tip the exhibition season off this Friday night and get this much awaited season underway.

Monday, October 28, 2013

John Calipari Gives Back


LEXINGTON, Ky. – UK head men’s basketball coach John Calipari will provide the actual 2014 spring semester in-state or out-of-state undergraduate tuition amount for two lucky students who attend Tuesday’s annual Blue-White Scrimmage in Rupp Arena.

 

Students currently enrolled at the University of Kentucky can sign-up at the regular student entrance at Rupp Arena, behind Section 34. They must present a valid UK student ID and be signed up before 7 p.m. ET. Gates open at 6 p.m. ET.

 

The winners will be randomly selected and announced at the completion of the scrimmage and MUST be present to win.

 

In the event of a graduate/professional student winner, the spring semester in-state or out-of-state undergraduate tuition amount will be applied.

 

Upper level tickets are still available for $5 and can be purchased online throughTicketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at800.745.3000. Tickets will also be sold in person at the UK Ticket Office between the hours of 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. ET or by calling800.928.2287. Fans can also obtain tickets by calling or in-person at the Rupp Arena Box Office(859.233.3535) starting at 10 a.m. ET, or by visiting statewide Ticketmaster outlets. For outlet locations, go toTicketmaster.com.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blackmon Jr. to decide this week?



James Blackmon Jr. the # 23 ranked player in the class of 2014 has finished up his visit to Indiana, a school that he decommitted from earlier this year and hopes to have a decision sometime this week. As many of you know, Blackmon Jr. is high up on Calipari's wish list for 2014.

Before his visit to Indiana this past weekend, many thought Kentucky was the leader for his services and now that his visit is over, it seems many still feel the same. It will be interesting to see where he'll go considering he has committed to Indiana once before and his father, James Blackmon Sr. is a former Wildcat himself. So there is many things pulling him in both directions.

Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that Blackmon Jr. and his family has been exploring announcing his decision on ESPN. For the record, Roberts who also runs a Kentucky recruiting blog NextCats.com also believes that Blackmon will end up at Kentucky.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nerlens Noel; Will He Play This Season, Or Won't He?



Every Kentucky fan can recall where he/she was when they witnessed the gruesome images of Nerlens Noel's knee injury against the Florida Gators. It was the moment we all knew that the CATS season was bound to take a turn for the worse.

Fast-forward a few months and you will see where the Philadelphia 76ers coach, Brett Brown stated that Noel would more than likely miss his rookie season entirely instead of being able to play around Christmas like we all originally thought. But, it seems as Nerlens' agent, Andy Miller doesn't agree according to the following statement he gave to SNY.tv...

"I think it's premature to make any determination at this point. He will continue to follow rehab protocol and we will take each day one step at a time."

That statement goes against this statement Brett Brown gave according to ESPN.com.....

"I doubt, everybody doubts that he's going to play this year. We don't want to waste this year. I think form a skill perspective, it's an opportunity for us to break down his shot, really work on his free throws and start a little bit from ground zero."

This story is definitely worth keeping an eye on to see how everything plays out. But, as always we wish Noel a fast and speedy recovery...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Andrew Harrison added to Cousy Award watch list


Andrew Harrison has been added to the Bob Cousy Award watch list. Bring on the season folks...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Calipari Talks About His Players Returning For NBA Pre-Season Game In Rupp



John Calipari talked a little bit today about his former players which he lovingly refers to as "sons" that will play an NBA pre-season game tonight in Rupp Arena.

"It's always great to have my "sons" come back home. And to have the opportunity to see them living out their dreams makes it even more special. 

Anthony (Davis) has matured so much physically and mentally even after just one season in New Orleans. They're a young team so they'll have an opportunity to grow together. 

John (Wall) has shown what he's capable of, closing out last season strong. And now he's got a max deal, but he's shown how special he is off the floor by donating $1 million to charity. 

Darius (Miller) is hurt right now but I think when he comes back he will add versatility to the Pelicans on both ends of the floor and add to a great rookie season. "


Again, I'm ending this post with a quote from Cal's speech last night, the same quote I ended last nights post with....

"At Kentucky we don't just play college basketball, we ARE college basketball"

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Rundown Of Big Blue Madness

(photo by: @UKAthleticsNews)

Just so you know, Big Blue Corner was supposed to be in attendance at BBM tonight, but car trouble prevented us from attending. I can't begin to explain how good of a mood that put me in for the rest of the evening...

Before Madness got started we were forced to watch Rob Bromley and Co. for the first 20 minutes of the televised broadcast, but then came the video of the campers scrambling for their spot in "Tent City" to camp-out for BBM tickets. It's no wonder Calipari says "Y'all are crazy"

If you had the TV on mute waiting for the festivities to start, then you should've been following the Madness updates on Twitter. Besides the entertainment that continuously came across the twitter feed you would know that John Wall and the Wizards along with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans were in attendance for the event with some of them being quoted as saying "this is crazy", welcome to Kentucky Basketball fellas.

Again, the night started off with a performance from UK women's coach, Mathew Mitchell that brought the crowd to it's feet with him appearing dressed as James Brown dancing to "I Got You" and just like that ending up sporting a pair glasses and a sport coat dancing to Britney Spears "Hit Me Baby One More Time". As much energy John Calipari has brought to  Kentucky MENS Basketball, Mathew Mitchell has done the same for the women's program. Both of these coaches are EXCELLENT at selling the UK brand and representing the university in a positive light.

I'm gonna skip highlighting the women's portion (NO DISRESPECT INTENDED, had to leave the house for a bit) of the evening and dive straight into what you have been waiting for since what seems like an eternity...

The mens portion of the night opened with one of the most stern, hardcore, passionate and heart felt speech that John Calipari has ever given. The crowd never left their feet as he talked about how proud he was of every single one of his players including Anthony Davis, John Wall and Darius Miller who were all present and was greeted by an ear shattering roar. By the time Cal had wrapped up his speech that reminded you of the Gettysburg Address because of the passion behind it, I myself was ready to say "Hell with it, Give me a jersey I'll suit up." Once again, Calipari DOES NOT disappoint.

The player introductions was definitely something to see. You don't realize just how big this team is until you see them being announced along with their height. This team is going to be crazy big and long, and if they ever decide to put on a press, good luck trying to go around or throw over that. One thing we did learn during intros is that Jarrod Polson is the best dancer on this team, pretty impressive.

This group looked focused from the get go and the rest of the night did not disappoint.


The beginning was pretty much what it is every year, just more talent than before. We saw lots of nerves, senseless shots, no defense and a lot of fun being had amongst the guys. That is exactly what this night was meant for. The one thing that was different is the fact you could see the potential of this team and you didn't have to look no further than 6'9" Julius Randle's drive, coast to coast with a behind the back twist and a hard, rim rattling dunk at the other end. This kid just sweats talent and expects others to wipe it off the floor.

Derek Willis showed something that I didn't know he had and that was somewhat of an outside shot, that will be handy if he could improve on it.  Every single player looked good, but the freshman didn't disappoint if you take into consideration that this is really just a practice and no seriousness is given by the players or coaches. Just judging by the looks of this team, things could be interesting going forward if everyone learns their role, puts egos aside and plays as a team. If all that happens, other teams should be put on notice, this team is not to be taken lightly and yes I'm looking at you Mr. Patrick Young.


I'll close with a quote from Calipari's speech tonight   "WE DON'T JUST PLAY COLLEGE BASKETBALL, WE ARE COLLEGE BASKETBALL"-- John Calipari

Jimmy Dykes Likes Kentucky's Team

(photo by: @UKAthleticsNews)

While your getting ready for the event that you have waited for since the final buzzer sounded on a disappointing loss to Robert Morris in the NIT, here's so tweets about the team you may find interesting...


@JimmyDykesLive: Just left Kentucky practice preparing for Big Blue Madness on ESPNU tonite.   Talent and size cannot be ignored on that floor. Chance 2B special.

@JimmyDykesLive: The hype surrounding James Young is real. Can flat out just go get buckets. Long,Lefty wired to score.

@JimmyDykesLive: Kentucky has talent/ size to be dominating defensive, shot blocking, rebound team. Will young guys set aside egos and buy in? Cal has done it B4.

@JimmyDykesLive: Great 2C Darius Miller at UK practice today. The glue that held it all together for Natl Title team. Who will do that this year a big key.

@JimmyDykesLive: The knock on Harrison twins in HS was bad body language and not great team guys. Saw ZERO of that in 2 hour practice.

@JimmyDykesLive: Several members of New Orleans Pelicans were watching practice. Not one of them had the physical presence of Frosh Julius Randle. A grown man.

@JasonKingESPN: New Orleans Pelicans watched UK practice today. Anthony Davis, Darius Miller, Tyreke Evans, Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon all in attendance.

@JasonKingESPN: Folks don't realize how versatile Julius Randle is. Most assume just a banger. Can do SO much more away from basket.


If reading that doesn't get a little excited then I don't know what will...

30 minutes and counting until the Madness begins